The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-83 on Wednesday night behind a TD Garden crowd that was rocking all night. They are now 11-0 at the TD Garden arena this postseason and are one more win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010. For them to be in a position to eliminate the three time Eastern Conference champions without their best player(Kyrie Irving) and their key free agent acquired this past summer in Gordon Hayward says a lot about Coach Brad Stevens and his guys.
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They were led by Rookie Jayson Tatum who had his first 20 point game of the series scoring 24 points on 7-15 shooting from the field. He also played the most minutes of any player to step foot on the floor (41) which shows how much confidence coach Stevens has in this Rookie. Second year player Jaylen Brown has also come into his own showing the injury to Hayward was not as significant as some may have thought scoring 17 points and being the primary defender on LeBron James. Al Horford the steady leader for this team had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Celtics has 10 steals as a team forcing the Cavs to play faster than they want to. They were a plus 12 from three (13-9) and a plus six rebounding (45-39). Now one win from playing for a championship and they probably knew all along they could do it.
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LeBron James had a game high 26 points on 11 of 22 shooting but wasn't an easy 26 as he looked passive aggressive with no one else to lean on to shoulder some of the load. He might have to win two more playing 40 plus minutes and score 35 plus to give his team a chance. Will have the energy to do so? Only he knows.
Kevin Love the only other starter in double figures with 14 points but was never able to get into a rhythm. Tristan Thompson, George Hill, and JR Smith all combined for 10 points. The bench contributed 32 points with some balance scoring.
Ultimately the Cavs do not give LeBron enough consistent help which is a large partof the reason LeBron is fatigued or seems that way. Could Friday be LeBrons last game in a Cavs uniform? Only He knows the answer to that.
Game 6: Friday 5/25 5:30 PT
What To Watch For: Will the other's let LeBron go out like this?